Everything a small business needs to know about the nbn™ and phone lines

October 16th, 2018 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here.

The nbn™ is a national infrastructure investment that, once finished, is intended to connect all Australians with faster internet. Aging infrastructure that is no longer competitive is being replaced, and Australian businesses will be more dynamic and capable of participating in the global market as a result of fast, reliable internet speeds – dependent of course on your internet service provider (ISP).

The rollout also means a change over in technology, particularly with regards to business phone services. Preparation for this change is key to ensure a smooth transition for small businesses.

What happens to my phone lines once the nbn™ is installed?

The nbn™ makes use of existing wired connections on the network. This means existing technology services will be turned off once the nbn™ is connected.This disconnection applies to phone lines as well.

So, in addition to a move to a nbn™ small business internet plan, you’re going to need to think about how your business phone lines will work post-nbn™. For most businesses this will mean a VoIP solution: you’ll pay an additional (usually small) fee on top of your internet service fee to have your internet provider also give you a phone service, which is delivered over the Internet connection.

Check out the Aussie Broadband small business VoIP offering here.

How do I move to the nbn™?

It’s important to understand that the move to the nbn™ is not automatic. You’ll be given a notice by NBNco that services to your area have commenced, and then you’ll have 18 months to move your services to the new network.

When this happens you’ll need to do the following:

  • Register your building with NBNco if you’re responsible for it.
  • Obtain consent for NBNco to come and install the necessary equipment both inside and outside the premises, if they have identified this as necessary.
    This involves drilling, so prior consent is essential.
  • Order your new services (including telephone service) from your nbn™ provider, such as Aussie Broadband.
  • For any critical technology connected to the internet (which can range from EFTPOS/ Credit Card machines through to fire alarms), contact the suppliers of these devices to work out a way to ensure that there’s no disruption to service during and after migration to the nbn™.

What impact will this have on my phone and phone lines?

Your phone line connection becomes dependent on both power supply to the premises, as well as network availability and your connection to the network. It’s very much recommended that a backup solution, such as an alternate mobile contact number or a 4G mobile broadband device, be purchased and kept available for any internet-dependent devices, for example an EFTPOS machine. This means that in the event of a power failure or network issues/downtime, you are still able to operate your business.

Please note that despite the change, you will generally be able to keep the same phone numbers, and your customers will be able to contact you in the same way that they always have.

In most cases you won’t need to change your phone systems. Most systems that are younger than seven years old may be able to be configured to support the nbn™. You should speak with your ISP about this when discussing your connection options

At the same time, having the nbn™ installed is an opportunity to update your phone systems. Modern VoIP systems have a wide range of features that were not possible with conventional landlines, and often you’ll be able to add services and solutions to your nbn Internet and phone package that will help your phone system boost your organisation’s productivity.

Speak to your broadband provider for more information on these opportunities.

Consider a hosted solution

One of the other opportunities that the nbn™ provides is the ability to have your phone system delivered as a service. The nbn™ offers an easy opportunity to switch to a hosted PBX solution, where your service provider (often your internet provider) will have the PBX installed on their site, and will take responsibility for the management of it. All you pay is a small monthly service fee for the handsets that you use.

It’s a great way for small businesses to save on their IT management costs, while getting advanced features that might have been beyond their ability to afford upfront. Or, in other words, a hosted PBX gives even the smallest businesses access to enterprise-class telephony features.

What happens if something goes wrong?

In rare cases the nbn™ might not work as expected. Depending on configuration, there can be dropouts, and at times the connection itself can be faulty.

Working around this can be complex. As a first point of call you should contact your provider, though in all likelihood, if there’s a problem with the connection and the phones are dropping out because of that, it will need to be NBNCo itself that will send a technician out to investigate the fault.

Unfortunately the shift to the nbn™ also means that if your internet goes down, your phones will too. This can have a significant impact on the business, so be sure to check in with your provider to see what redundancy solutions might be on offer. You can read more about redundant links here.

Make sure you take action in time

The move to the nbn™ is not optional; if you miss your 18-month deadline following notice from NBNCo, you’ll find yourself without any phone or internet connectivity. So be sure to use this as an opportunity to give your business a communications makeover!

Aussie Broadband provides Australian small businesses with quality nbn™ services. To enquire about how the nbn™ rollout effects you, and to find out more about why you should choose Aussie Broadband for your nbn™ installation, visit our Small Business nbn™ page.